Petition calls on SA’s top asset managers to help citizens who want to fight climate change


Press release: Cape Town, 19 July 2018:– Fossil Free South Africa, the campaign calling for both institutional and individual investors to stop investments in climate-breaking coal, gas and oil, has with its partners launched a new ‘Spotlight’ campaign on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as collecting signatures on the ground at markets and events.

The campaign aims to increase support for its Amandla.mobi petition calling on SA’s biggest assset managers – Allan Gray, Coronation, Investec, Old Mutual, Sanlam and the Government Employees Pension Fund – to offer fossil fuel-free options to investors.

‘Over the past three years, the most profitable economic sector in South Africa has been financial services,’ said David Le Page, Fossil Free SA coordinator. ‘Yet despite their claims to being socially responsible corporate citizens, none of South Africa’s top asset managers are committed to helping citizens invest without doing harm. Most continue to invest in fossil fuels, and have not committed to supporting vital conventions on climate change, such as the Paris treaty. As Bill McKibben has said, “If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage”.’

‘South Africa is most vulnerable to climate change: most recently, 50,000 seasonal workers in the Western Cape have lost work as a result of the Cape drought, creating great suffering. We think it’s time that our top asset managers start making it easy for principled investors to stop investing in fossil fuel companies like Sasol. Europe, the US and Australia, amongst others, have well-developed ethical investment sectors, but South Africa lags behind.’

‘Our big asset managers protest that there is no public demand for ethical investments in South Africa, and it’s not financially viable for them to offer fossil fuel-free funds. We believe that in fact most South Africans, once they understand the issues, would far prefer not be invested in declining industries that are wreaking havoc with the environment. We call on our world-class asset managers to help investors and citizens who are committed to the vital mission of stopping climate change. And we welcome volunteers for profiling in this social media campaign.’

Fossil Free SA’s campaign partners include 350 Africa, the Centre for Environmental Rights, Greenpeace Africa, Earthlife Africa, SAFCEI, the African Climate Reality Project, UCT’s Green Campus Initiative, EcoMaties, GroundWork, Green Anglicans, the People’s Health Movement, SA Climate Action Network, Cullinans and Greenpop.

Emphasing that climate change is a major human rights issue, the campaign has been endorsed by and will profile the new secretary general of human rights organisation, Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo.

For more information, please contact Fossil Free SA coordinator David Le Page at david@fossilfreesa.org.za or +27845220968.

About Fossil Free SA: Our campaign grew out of an 2013 initiative to persuade the University of Cape Town to stop investing in fossil fuels. The university now has a draft responsible investment policy. With 350 Africa, we have also helped persuade the City of Cape Town to commit to divestment. Global commitments to divestment now span whole countries, such as Ireland, cities including New York, London and Paris, and funds worth over $6 trillion. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has endorsed the movement, saying: ‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.’

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